Title: A normative set of criteria to increase political competence through voting advice applications

Authors: Javier Padilla; Javier Ramos; Guillermo Romero; Jesús Enrique Chueca

Addresses: Cuny, Graduate Center, New York, NY, 10016, USA ' Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain ' University of Southamptom, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK ' Unit of the Energy Department, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC, 20577, USA

Abstract: This paper argues that current voting advice applications (VAAs) do not sufficiently fulfil their stated aim of increasing voters' political competence. First, we define four criteria to evaluate whether their methods are likely to increase political competence: informativeness, respect for users' way of comparing and aggregating policy issues, reliability, and transparency. Second, we argue that current VAAs compare and aggregate users' and parties' policy preferences following a weak method that fails in two of them. To prove it, we analyse the methodology of most currents VAAs and use the outcomes from the EU-Vox 2014 in several countries. Third, we discuss two possibilities by which VAAs could improve: (1) by using ex-ante survey data to fill their gaps, or (2) by creating a learning algorithm to adapt the VAA to users' preferences. We found that some changes need to be made if VAAs aim to have an impact on users' political competence.

Keywords: wisdom of crowds; technology platforms; public sector; systematic review; meta-synthesis; voting advice applications; voting behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2021.116869

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2021 Vol.13 No.2, pp.149 - 175

Received: 12 Sep 2019
Accepted: 29 Jun 2020

Published online: 29 Jul 2021 *

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